Beyond The Blues: The Blues Harmonica In Jazz

 (davidking via Flickr)
(davidking via Flickr)

In the mid-1800s, a German harmonica manufacturer named Hohner started exporting his product to North America. Being relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to play and extremely portable, the harmonica (commonly called a "harp") was the perfect instrument for a nation on the move. Everybody from Abraham Lincoln to Billy the Kid had one.

Over time, its popularity has waxed and waned, and it's now heard most often in the context of blues music. But ever since Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs began playing saxophone lines on his harmonica in the late 1940s, the instrument has occasionally crossed over into the jazz world. Here, then, is a list of five great blues-harmonica players who have applied their skills and their instrument to jazz songs.

For more entries in the Take Five series, click here. And don't forget to subscribe to the Jazz Notes newsletter.

Copyright 2015 Jazz24. To see more, visit http://www.jazz24.org.

More Photos:

Cover for Continental Drifter

Cover for Continental Drifter

Cover for Hard Way

Cover for Hard Way

Alone With The Blues

Alone With The Blues

Up And At ‘Em

Up And At ‘Em

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.